There are a solid three ways you could have come to be a fan of Miracle Legion: directly through the band’s output in the mid-80s through mid-90s; through singer Mark Mulcahy’s solo music; or via spin-off band Polaris’ sole album, which soundtracked the cult ’90s Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete & Pete. In this case, all roads lead to the New Haven, Connecticut band.
20 years after calling it a day following their fifth album, Portrait of a Damaged Family, the band came back together to re-release the album and celebrate 20 years of the Mezzotint record label, started by Mulcahy in order to release the album following label problems in 1996. The band kicks off a short American tour in April, with a few shows around the Northeast – including the Bowery Ballroom in NYC on April 21st – before coming to the Echoplex in Los Angeles on April 28th.
Aquarium Drunkard sat down separately over the phone with founding members Mulcahy and Mr. Ray and talked about the reunion, the issues of tackling music you haven’t played in a long time, Mulcahy’s upcoming solo album, and the virtues of wanting to sound like the Gun Club.
Aquarium Drunkard: How did the reunion come about?
Mark Mulcahy: I think the easy progression was that we ended up doing a bunch of Polaris gigs – which is everyone [in Miracle Legion] but Ray. I hadn’t played with those guys either for quite awhile. Playing with them made me think about all four of us playing again. And as much as I wouldn’t have imagined doing it, a bunch of people wanted to book gigs for us, so that plus I just think – I don’t know if there is some era of reunion. I don’t know if there’s been other reunion-eras in rock and roll, but a lot of groups from the time we were playing have regrouped as well, so, I don’t know, it just felt like taking part in a movement. [laughs]
AD: When did the reunion really come together? Was it last year or prior to that?
Mr. Ray: It was about a year ago last November. I think they [members in Polaris] were pretty shocked that people were really interested. We knew this was a different thing, because the Pete and Pete thing has more of a nostalgia, Comic-Con vibe to it. [laughs] But, I think that was what made us all think. I don’t know if I thought we’d ever play again. We said, let’s see. Will anyone be interested? Would anyone book us? Will anyone come? And then last year was amazing. I mean, bigger crowds than we had most of the time back in the day. I didn’t want to do a nostalgia thing and just play to guys my age saying ‘oh, when I saw you in ’82,’ you know. But it wasn’t a nostalgia trip at all. The audiences were great, and a great mix of male and female and ages. So it was great. So we’re doing it more.